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The hospitality industry faces a number of unprecedented problems. Is it possible to solve them? Of course. But to do so, it will require the collaborative efforts and innovations of hospitality tech companies and operators.
The two biggest issues lie on either side of the reception desk, though they are inextricably connected. First, the demands and expectations of the modern guest have changed. And second, an ongoing staff shortage makes it more difficult to meet these demands while also running a profitable business.
Travelers are more demanding
Hospitality has evolved. In the past, we were largely supporting travelers over long distances, those who needed to rest and continue their journey the next day. We’ve moved away from basic accommodation (history talks about shelters, not rooms), and towards comfort.
While people still need a place to sleep, the primary reason for travel has shifted. Today, priorities include exploring the destination, interacting with the local culture and community, understanding the place’s traditions, learning new skills, and making new friends and connections. If your guests can make lasting emotional connections with the destination and your staff, it encourages a loyalty stronger than any kind of reward scheme.
How to keep guests in the building
Guests want to leave with great memories they will keep for life and have remarkable experiences. Hospitality, meanwhile, became really good at providing beds for their heads, but when people wake up and start their day, the rooms often become empty, as do the properties.
Everyone knows the phrase “the art of hospitality”. We should be one step ahead of the guest, knowing what they want before they do, surpassing guest expectations. We should diversify the spaces in the property to allow for the authentic elements of the local community to step inside of the building, so that guests don’t have to leave in search of them.
Think about opening your gym to the public so that your guests can meet the body builder living in your neighborhood. Do you have a garden? Organize a barbecue. Is there a local chef that loves to teach others how to cook your local recipes? Build a kitchen and allow your guests to learn how to cook. Is your lobby a living space, or is it a transactional post office that’s quiet and lifeless off-peak?
Consider your floor plan. Does it allow for cultural immersions? Does it allow your local community to step inside and interact with your guests? Mews supports exactly this with Mews Spaces, which allows you to manage many types of different spaces, not just rooms. You shouldn’t need to use different space management software – your hospitality cloud should be all you need. And forget about Excel sheets and pen and paper.
You need a platform that allows you to properly manage revenue for every square meter of your floor plan. Don’t have one? Switch to Mews.
The opportunity is huge. You’ll differentiate yourself from your competitors, you’ll make guests more satisfied, and you’ll build lasting connections that will create an extreme level of loyalty. You’ll maximize the utilization of your property across every single minute of every single day, and through that, you’ll open up a new revenue stream, which not only makes you more money, but also makes your business more stable.
Read more about how to maximize your property’s full potential.
Dealing with staff shortages
You need your staff to focus on creating remarkable experiences. This means being empathetic to your guests and anticipating their needs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 50% of employees in hospitality and leisure lost their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic. As of October 2022, the employment rate in hospitality was still 6.5% below the pre-pandemic level, which means there are fewer employees who can think about and deliver remarkable experiences for your guests.
Hospitality has tried the conventional responses. It raised salaries to lure people in: average hourly earnings are almost 25% more now than in February 2020. However, it’s not enough. Many employees have moved on and aren’t coming back.
Everywhere in hospitality, you can feel this trend. The quality of service went down as there were fewer people to provide guests with memorable experiences. On top of this, a big percentage of new hires haven’t worked in the industry before and are still figuring out their art of hospitality.
None of this changes the fact that hotels are a business. Your goal is to grow, and in fact the whole travel industry is expected to grow by 15% year on year for the next 10 years. That creates a huge expectation mismatch and service level gap we need to overcome.
Technology can solve the staffing problem
This is where a great hospitality platform can help you – if the focus is right. Many software companies measure their success by watching the engagement their users have with their product, and they believe their product is better if the users spend more time using it. In hospitality, you need the absolute opposite.
More time spend with the PMS means less time spent with your guests. Therefore, at Mews, we focus on user disengagement. We firmly believe we are a better product if you spend less time reading the screens, less time to click OK, less time to perform your everyday tasks, less time loading rates.
We instrument our products with performance monitoring to understand how much time you spend working with the product instead of talking to the guests and we believe that the best screen is the one that does not exist – like our fully automated night audit. We’re heavily investing in our user experience to do much more in this area in the coming months.
Do you want to have time to rethink your floor plan? Or will you keep spending your days loading rates into all of your properties? If you’d like to save time on your repetitive admin and spend more time with your guests, why not get in touch?
10 Ways to Manage Staff Shortages
Because we’re the hospitality cloud that keeps on giving, we also put together a guide about 10 Ways to Manage Staff Shortages.
Get tips on how to provide great service even with a reduced headcount, how to use hospitality tech to reduce your workload, and how to better retain your team. Plus, success stories from hoteliers who are already seeing successes with smaller teams.
Jiří (or Jirka) is one of the longest serving members of Mews, having been innovating with us since 2014. He's now our CPO (Chief Product Officer) and is as determined as ever to disrupt hospitality with great products.
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